OWEN FARRELL becomes the most overqualified waterboy in history today – but also the most-feared member of Saracens’ backroom staff.
Banned England skipper Farrell won’t get to duel with Johnny Sexton in this mouth-watering quarter-final with Leinster.
But having impersonated the Ireland fly-half in training this week, the 87-capped Test star has been working non-stop to plot the downfall of Stuart Lancaster’s Irish giants.
Farrell will be prowling the Aviva Stadium touchline with Alex Goode starting at no.10.
And ex teammate and Sarries wing Chris Wyles, who won back-to-back Champions Cups alongside Farrell in 2016 and 2017, said: “Owen will be around. . . he will be everywhere.
“He will be influencing them and being that competitive leader that he is. He will be there near the pitch, making a big impact – just having him around has an impact.
“Owen dominates the headlines for Sarries because of who he is and the player he is, but don’t forget you’ve then got Maro Itoje, Billy and Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Brad Barritt – and all these other players who have been through it all with Saracens.
“Leinster have their players who have huge amounts of experience, but now Sarries do too.”
Sarries have had a horrific season – having been relegated for cheating the salary cap and fined a record £5.36million – it’s not quite what was in the script for the Champions Cup holders.
Ex USA captain Wyles said: “Since everything that has happened, those ups and downs – they are still there competing. And this would be up there as one of the best wins for the club – ever.
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“The environment lifts a bit in these weeks. There is no other game in the northern hemisphere like this – it’s basically a Test match against one of the best teams in the world, so it is always a huge occasion.
“And Sarries wouldn’t want it any other way – this is the kind of fixture you want. So don’t write off Saracens just yet.”
Even though he probably won’t admit it, Wyles also still plays his part in helping Sarries off the pitch.
Alongside former club captain Ali Hargreaves, the pair run Wolfpack bars and beers, named in honour of Sarries Wolfpack defence, which are unsurprisingly pretty popular for the team.
And Wyles, who delivered hundreds of free pints around north west London from a converted Land Rover during lockdown, added: “The boys still come down from time to time.
“We love seeing them at the bar and having a good time. We had a good group of them here for the opening of our new West Hampstead bar just before lockdown and they have been really supportive.
“What Saracens are so good at, is that once you have been through the journey with them, you can’t not feel part of it. But that being said, there comes distance with retirement and that’s the reality of sport.
“But seeing the boys come to the bar from time to time and catching up, that does add an extra connection.”